EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Comic Book Artist Chris Samnee
We chat exclusively with the über talented Chris Samnee about working with Mark Waid on Daredevil, how he got involved with the Adventures of Superman and much more. If you're not reading Daredevil every month, you're missing out!
Artist Chris Samnee and writer Mark Waid are arguably pumping out the most consistent Marvel Comics title each month with their current run on Daredevil. Below, we talk with the artist about working with Waid, working on DC's new digital Superman comic and more.
Mark Julian: Lets start with the more recent news of you providing art on the Superman digital title, Adventures of Superman. How did your involvement with that project come about [The talent on that project is staggering!]?
Chris Samnee: Well, my friend Jeff Parker asked if I might be interested in illustrating a Superman story with him and I said "Hellz Yeah!" . He passed along my contact info to editor Alex Antone, who emailed me later that day offering me a ten page story with Parker. Honestly, I didn't know much about the project or title, or who else was involved when I signed on. I just knew that I would have a good time doing a Superman story with Parker.
MJ: And since we're on the subject of digital comics, do you approach your work differently for a digital-first title knowing that readers will be zooming in and reading from panel-to-panel?
CS: No, not really in that respect. Just about everything is available digitally through Comixology, so I don't think that experience is unique to digital-first titles. The only thing I really keep in mind is that the page will be split in half for the iPad screen, so only certain page layouts are going to work.
MJ: What's it like working with Mark Waid on Daredevil? For me personally, this is one of the most consistent titles out there on the market.
CS: Working with Mark has been one of the best experiences I've ever had in comics. He is honestly interested in collaborating and values my input and ideas. Some issues we'll talk on the phone and hash things out before he finishes writing it. I really can't say enough nice things about Mark. There are a lot of writers who just want you to illustrate their story. Mark makes it feel like we're working on our story and that pushes me to take more ownership and be completely invested in the book. It's really been a wonderful experience.
MJ: Can you take us through a typical day for you, from warm-up to when you put the pencil down and call it a day.
CS: Well, I can't say that there is a typical day. Some days I start with a page not finished from the day before, so I'll start with inking. Some days I have a blank page before me and I start pencilling. Some days I start with scanning pages to clean up in photoshop and to send to editorial. Somedays I start with a warm-up sketch. Somedays it's thumbnailing a new script or layouts for a cover. It all just depends on what is most important I accomplish that day. Generally, I aim to have one page of pencils and inks completed each day, although lately I've had to do two pages a day to keep on schedule.
MJ: Would you say your process is typical or atypical or if there is even a way to categorize or standardize the process of drawing comic books?
CS: Honestly, I really don't know. I know a ton of people that make comics, but I'm not all that familiar with their process. Since I work traditionally (as in, inking on boards as opposed to in a computer program), I would assume that my process has a lot in common with other artists that work traditionally, but to be honest, I don't know.
MJ: This question came from Twitter, what inspires your art style and who is your favorite character to draw?
CS: I guess my style is inspired by all my favorite artists like Alex Toth, Milt Caniff, Steve Rude, David Mazzucchelli and probably also my deadlines. That might be my biggest inspiration. ;) My favorite characters to draw have always been Batman and Superman.
MJ: Presently, I think we're seeing a shift in the industry where more and more creators are balancing their projects with publishers with creator-owned books. What are your thoughts on that and is it something in the cards for you?
CS: Well, I think creator-owned books are fantastic and I've actually worked on a few of them! Unfortunately for artists, it's a lot more difficult to balance work for hire with doing creator-owned projects that typically don't pay anything (at least upfront). Most writers can comfortably handle several books a month, which allows them to do both. If you're an artist like myself, pencilling and inking a monthly book (plus covers), you have about six hours of free time a month and it's a lot harder to justify spending those six hours on more comics when you have a family. As a long term investment, involvement in a creator-owned book is a wonderful thing, but as the sole provider for my (soon to be) family of four I have to make decisions that pay our bills first. That said, I absolutely want to write and draw my own creator-owned book. I've got lots of ideas, it's just a matter of finding the time to work on them with my present commitments.
MJ: I have to ask at least one movie question, which of the big 2013 comic book movies are you looking forward to the most?
CS: Hmmm, I think I'd have to say Iron Man 3. I really love the first two Iron Man movies and it's probably the only one I'll be able to see in the theater before our second baby comes along!
MJ: Lastly, any words for all your fans and supporters out there?
CS: Oh gosh, I really can't say how much I appreciate all the support for what I'm doing. I honestly think I have the nicest fans in all of comics and I'm truly grateful that people seem to enjoy my work. It certainly makes those long hours at the board worth it.
You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisSamnee and visit his official site to see some of his awesome sketches.
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